crmtipoftheday: Tip #1302: Should I recreate the account entity?
When deploying Dynamics 365, there are frequently multiple types of companies and organizations that you will be tracking in the system. Some represent customer/client organizations, some may be support and advisory organizations like accountants and legal firms, and some may be miscellaneous types of organizations, such as trade associations.
How should you manage multiple categories of company relationships?
The most common approach is to use the account entity for all organization types, and use a field like relationship type or a custom option set to flag companies by their type or category. Views can be filtered based on the type of company, and business rules can conditionally show or hide field and form components based on type.
Another approach is to create custom entities for each type of company. One reason commonly sited is “I might need to use accounts for another reason in the future, so I don’t want to customize the account entity.”
Before recreating the account entity as a custom company entity, consider strongly what you give up by doing this:
What are the exceptions?
Using a custom entity for companies is at the top of the list for 10 things you never ever want to do in your customer engagement system. I run into this all the time where clients think they need to set up a different entity to track vendors separately from their customers. put them all in the account entity which is the bucket for businesses and filter them based upon a option set if you don’t go down this path you lose all the built-in functionality of parent-child relationship of businesses to contacts and you end up destroying the overall Integrity of your business model.
We always use the account as a base for organizations. Then if we need to extend it say it’s a school with specific requirements around it, we then create an entity ‘school’ but looked up to ‘account’ which hold all the basic info like you pointed out. Or sometimes it’s a matter of adding a flag to the account. But I can’t remember an instance in the last 12+ years of creating a custom account entity.
The logic of creating custom company entities doesn’t make a lot of sense. The only time I’ve ever thought of not recommending account or contact is if they plan on deploying multiple third party solutions to the same instance. But even then, just be thoughtful in your design and understand the third party components.
I had a customer once that had repurposed the contact entity and created a custom contact entity. They ended up not being able to use any marketing-oriented solution or feature.
If they don’t use the account entity, they might as well just get CDS without any first-party apps and rebuild everything from scratch. Cases, Opportunities, Contacts, all roll up. Are they going to avoid those as well? (For what it’s worth, ClickDimensions handles using Accounts for different relationship types like vendor/partner/customer just fine).
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